Airbnb is certain that remote work and flexible travel are here to stay and is rolling out new services such as verified internet speeds at hosts’ houses and the ability to browse for listings up to a year in advance.
The more than 50 new features, which were announced a day after the United States reopened its borders to foreign tourists, are part of Chief Executive Officer Brian Chesky’s vision of a new golden age of travel born in the Covid-era, in which work and leisure merge as companies move away from an office-centric lifestyle.
Long-term stays of 28 days or more are the company’s fastest-growing trip length category, accounting for 20% of nights booked between July and September.
“I think the practical challenge is finding a place that is available for a month. If you plan ahead, there’s zero problem doing that.”Nathan Blecharczyk, Chief Strategy Officer, Airbnb
In the third quarter, Airbnb announced record sales and earnings, demonstrating its tenacity in the face of the rising delta variant and the ongoing demand for vacation rentals from which to work and play. Airbnb listed policies from companies including Procter & Gamble, Ford Motor Company, and Amazon.com Inc. that have announced enhanced employee flexibility, and it expects others to follow suit. One of the reasons Airbnb assists hosts in testing their listings’ Wi-Fi and having the speed validated on their site is because of this.
The new features are a follow-up to the company’s “I’m Flexible” campaign, which launched in May and allowed visitors to browse for listings up to six months in advance. According to the firm, the tool has been used over 500 million times, and the most recent version will allow passengers to look for new listings that are “off the grid” and unusual. Travelers migrated away from large urban centres during the pandemic, opting instead for neighbouring and rural holiday locations.
However, extended stays are common in cities around the holidays, and alternative lodging offers a unique experience compared to staying in a hotel for a month. Long-term stays on Airbnb have increased by 68 percent.
“If cities want to capture and be a part of these new trends, I think Airbnb is a unique piece of infrastructure that is going to allow for that.”Nathan Blecharczyk, Chief Strategy Officer, Airbnb
AirCover, a protection programme that includes $1 million in damage insurance and $1 million in liability coverage, as well as income-loss and deep-cleaning protection, is being rolled out to Airbnb’s 4 million hosts.
Airbnb will pair its most experienced “superhosts” with individuals who have questions about opening their homes to guests in an effort to recruit even more hosts to satisfy rising demand. Airbnb’s Ask a Superhost service is now available in over 30 languages and almost 200 countries.
“When you’re new to this you have a lot of questions and what’s more reassuring than reading about it on our website is having a conversation with someone who is actually doing it.”
Nathan Blecharczyk, Chief Strategy Officer, Airbnb
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